Posts Tagged ‘Daniel Craig’

Double-Oh-Seven is by turns callow and caring in 2015’s fine but largely unsurprising spy thriller ‘Spectre’

February 9, 2018

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Feb. 9, 2018

Skyfall was released in November 2012, about five months after I launched this blog. It was Daniel Craig’s third appearance as James Bond, and director Sam Mendes’s first contribution to the long-running film franchise based on Ian Fleming’s espionage novels and stories. The plot wasn’t super-original — there’s a list of spies that could become public, à la the first Mission: Impossible movie; there’s someone from one of the main character’s pasts, out for vengeance, à la at least half of all action-adventure movies ever — but the action was well-executed and Craig, Dame Judi Dench, Javier Bardem and Ralph Fiennes lent the proceedings an air of excitement and gravity.

Skyfall also put into place some of the traditional elements of the Bond franchise that had been absent from the Craig movies, which are a sort of series reboot. (Bond had yet to earn his license to kill as Casino Royale opened.) We met Bond’s new quartermaster, Q (Ben Whishaw), a figure who I believe was missing from Craig’s previous pictures, and Moneypenny (Naomie Harris), who had definitely been missing from Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace. Moreover, a successor for Dench’s embattled spymaster, M, was established in the form of Fiennes’s Gareth Mallory.

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Double-Oh-Seven hits the mark — again — in Daniel Craig’s third Bond outing

November 17, 2012

Director Sam Mendes’ new feature, Skyfallis a solid-verging-on-spectacular outing by everyone’s favorite 50-year-old British spy.

Actor Daniel Craig returns for his third outing as James Bond. Just as importantly, so does the writing duo of Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, who co-authored the scripts for the excellent Casino Royale (2006) and the fun but not quite as good Quantum of Solace (2008), Craig’s first two go-arounds as secret agent 007. The third member of Skyfall’s screenwriting triumvirate is John Logan, replacing Paul Haggis, who co-wrote the previous two Bond films.

The cinematography and the stunts are spectacular, the cast is easy on the eyes but fully capable of conveying human emotions when called upon to do so, and the plot is hard-driving. The overall tone remains hard-nosed, but there’s room for a few touches of humor as well as vulnerability on the part of both Bond and his unsentimental spymaster. Judi Dench reprises her role as M, the MI6 head, in what may be one of her last appearances due to her advanced age and uncertain health.

Javier Bardem makes a relatively late entrance as the requisite super-villain, a slightly campy but nonetheless menacing character with bleached-blond hair and unfortunate dental issues named Silva. The top-notch cast also features Ralph Fiennes as Gareth Mallory, a government official whose oversight M and Bond both quickly come to loathe; Naomie Harris as a spy whose ability, looks and style rival Bond’s; Albert Finney as Kincade, an old acquaintance of Bond’s; and Ben Whishaw as the young, new, quirky and occasionally impertinent quartermaster, Q.

The players also include Bérénice Lim Marlohe as a Bond girl (although this new trio of Bond pictures has manipulated that archetype in interesting ways); Rory Kinnear as M’s aide de camp, Tanner; and Bill Buckhurst in a short but moving cameo as a Bond compatriot.

The action takes place in Istanbul, Shanghai, Macao and the United Kingdom, all of which appear absolutely gorgeous as lensed by Mendes and cinematographer Roger Deakins. (I watched the film on an IMAX screen, and everything looked wonderful.)

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